Eanes ISD lowers tax rate at board meeting Monday

Eanes ISD Board discusses agenda items at a recent meeting.

Eanes ISD Board discusses agenda items at a recent meeting.

Eanes ISD board of trustees met Monday, the first day of school, to set the 2017-18 tax rate and discuss enrollment and new hires for the school year.

Board sets tax rate

The board of trustees set the total fiscal year 2017-18 tax rate a $1.20 per $100 valuation, a decrease of 1.25 cents from the FY 2016-17 tax rate. The district’s maintenance and operating tax rate was increased by 2 cents while the interest and sinking tax rate was decreased by 3.25 cents.

While the overall tax rate decreased—due to the increase in the district’s M&O tax rate—residents will vote Nov. 7 in a tax ratification election to approve or deny the change.

According to a resolution approved by the board Monday, if voters approve the tax rate in November, the district will generate $2.8 million that would have otherwise been recaptured by the state of Texas. If voters do not approve the change, the tax rate will revert back to the FY 2016-17 rate of $1.2125 per $100 valuation, the resolution states.

Enrollment update

According to a report by Deputy Superintendent Jeff Arnett, EISD’s total enrollment was 8,015 students on Monday, with 3,355 students in elementary school, 1,963 in middle school and 2,699 in high school.

Overall, the district has 98 less students than Arnett projected last spring, with lower elementary school numbers accounting for most of the difference, he said. High school enrollment was 33 students higher than expected.

Interim principal and assistant principal named at West Ridge Middle School

With former West Ridge Middle School Principal Kendall Still resigning over the summer to move closer to his family in Oklahoma, EISD hired Robin Lowe to serve as principal on an interim basis for the 2017-18 school year, Superintendent Tom Leonard said.

Lowe moved back to the Austin area in June after serving as an executive principal at Flagstaff Academy Charter School in Colorado, Leonard said. Before that, she served as principal at Kealing Middle School in Austin ISD and Pershing Middle School in Houston ISD.

“I am really excited to be a part of the Eanes ISD community for this year and to help provide some leadership to West Ridge Middle School,” Lowe said.  “I was really impressed with our first day of school, and there are great systems in place on that campus. I appreciate the opportunity to take this role on for the school year.”

Leonard said the district worked quickly to fill the role for the 2017-18 school year due to the timing of Still’s resignation and will conduct a full search for the position this coming spring.

The school’s assistant principal, Abby Bridges, also left the district over the summer to become an elementary school principal in another district, he said. EISD employee Dillon Finan was named the school’s interim assistant principal.

Finan had been in EISD for a few years as an instructional partner at West Ridge Middle and Westlake High School and was previously a science teacher in Hays CISD, Leonard said.